Faces of the Titanic: Nora Keane survived - almost didn't make it as she wasted time putting on her corset
Limerick woman was met from rescuse ship, the Carpathia, by her brothers in New York
Nora was on her way back to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she and her brother ran the Union Hotel on Paxton Street.
She told her story to a local paper:
Miss Keane Home; Her Complete Story
Survivor of Wreck tells how Ship Sank as those in Boats looked on – Drifted Eight Hours in Darkness and Cold before Aid Came
Miss Nora Keane, the only resident of this city who was aboard the Titanic when it was wrecked off the Newfoundland banks, arrived home at 7.10 o’clock last evening. She was accompanied by her brothers and their wives who met her at the Cunard line pier where the Carpathia docked Thursday evening at 9.15. Last night she told to The Patriot all the details of her terrible experience, from the time the giant ship first struck the iceberg until she was gathered into the arms of her four big brothers on the New York dock.
‘It was terrible that wreck … I felt a slight shock a little time before they came. I thought nothing of it. No person had any idea that the vessel was hurt. Even after we were told to get ready we didn’t think there was any danger, for we had been told that the ship could not sink – that it was unsinkable. People had told me that it was an impossibility for it to go down. I went on deck with other persons. The officers had perfect control of everything. There was some excitement amongst some of the people but not what you would expect under the circumstances.
‘Officers called out just who were to go in the boats. I was fortunate to get out in the fourth or fifth boat that left. The crew showed every courtesy in lowering the women and children into the boats. The men passengers stood back. Without doubt, they sacrificed their lives to give women and children the preference … There was a foreigner of some kind ran from some part of the ship and jumped into our boat. No one saw him go. When we got into the boat, we tramped over him for some time but didn’t see him or even know we were stepping on a human form.
‘Later he proved of great use. He could handle the boat. After we rowed away from the ship, we learned that he was in the boat and asked him if we hurt him when we walked over him. He said, “No, still living.” The boat had but one sailor in it and this man came in very useful in helping us work the boat. He did good work … Two men floated by us. Both of them had life preservers. One of them drooped low in the water.
He did not call. The other called to us: “Take me on.” It was almost an impossibility to do anything. Our boat barely floated. “Goodbye,” the man in the water called. Then his head went down a little later. He disappeared out of sight. That was the case with many others. It was [a] terrible sight to witness. It cannot be forgotten. The sight of men in the sea was awful.’
From the lifeboat, Nora saw the Titanic go down. ‘The ship seemed to go down forward and raise to an awful height, all at once. There was a roar and a deafening sound. The cries and moans of those passengers and crew in the water were awful. Very soon there was nothing seen or heard. The ship went down about 100 yards from where our boat was. Bodies drifted past us. Pieces of the wreck were around.
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